A LIVELY first half performance from the Bulls provided enough of a margin to take them
A LIVELY first half performance from the Bulls provided enough of a margin to take them to a third victory in three weeks despite a spirited comeback from the Scottish visitors.
Boosted by the presence of club captain Dave Clements, Tom Emery and Ben Palmer in good form at fly-half the Bulls created both tempo and enough physical force during the opening 40 minutes where all their points were scored.
Tommy Haynes in his third game back since injury has provided some confidence in the pack and control at the line-out that provides plenty of good possession but it was the less experienced Scots who dominated the scrummage throughout ensuring the ball Haynes was collecting was slow and untidy.
The first points came from a driving maul as Clements rose to collect and delivered clean ball for Haynes to steer his way over for a try from five metres. Palmer spliced the posts with the conversion and a seven-point lead was created within 10 minutes.
Ross Lewis was given space six minutes later on the right flank and checked his remaining defender with a clever step and beat his man for pace on the outside to score in the corner. Palmer could not emulate his first attempt from the wide angle but the Bulls seemed in full flow.
Soon after spritely fullback Luke Govier looked solid at the back as the Scots tried to relieve pressure with the boot but the Bulls backs countered and a slick move involving a 20-metre carry from James Scaife resulted in RAF centre Andrew Bailey crashing through the wider defence for a third try which Palmer this time landed with aplomb.
The last contribution to the Bulls tally came from Govier himself who when fed by Louis Flynn darted over on the opposite flank from Lewis to cap of an exciting first half flourish. Palmer again added the extras to take the Bulls in at 26-0 up. As in the away fixture when the Bulls had led at half-time the Scottish resurgence was remarkable.
Three second half tries ensured for a truly exciting clash as their dominance at the scrum provided the perfect platform for their scrum-half to mastermind a comeback which almost saw the Bulls lead toppled. A determined defence and kicking from Fred Taylor and Palmer was enough to stem the Scottish onslaught.
Henley Bulls: Cecil MacCarthy, Luke Watts, George Primett, Guy Wilson, James Scaife, Tom Emery (Craig Dawson 41 minutes), Dave Clements (Toby Howe 51 minutes), Tommy Haynes, Fred Taylor, Ben Palmer, Dyneal Fessal, Louis Flynn, Andrew Bailey (Charlie Stacey 51 minutes), Ross Lewis (Daley Aremu 51 minutes), Luke Govier.
* The Bulls play in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup Final on Thursday against Banbury at Iffley Road, Oxford. A free coach for supporters will leave Dry Leas at 6.30pm ahead of kick-off at 8pm.